A Direct Inject Approach for Analysis of Legacy and Emerging Perfluoroalkyl Substances in Environmental Water and Soil Samples

Characterization of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in the Environment
Oral Presentation

Prepared by , K. Rosnack, D. Stevens, J. Romano

Contact Information: Kari_Organtini@waters.com; 508-482-3242


PFAS are common persistent environmental contaminants used in the production of many consumer products as surfactants and for non-stick, stain, and water resistance coatings. PFAS are also a major component of fire fighting foams used for suppression of fuel fires. Global use of these compounds over decades has led to their release into the environment. Their chemical properties make them bioaccumulative and are found in all types of environmental samples, including water and soil. Current advisory guidelines around the globe require parts per trillion (ppt) detection of PFAS in various types of environmental samples.

A direct inject approach was taken to analyze a wide range of PFAS in both water and soil samples. This approach utilizes little sample preparation and requires a highly sensitive mass spectrometer for detection. Legacy and emerging (ex: GenX, ADONA, F53-B) PFAS compounds were analyzed in various types of water and soil samples.

Samples evaluated were blindly spiked with unknown concentrations of a mix of PFAS compounds prior to being received for analysis. The analyses performed passed all of the required QC criteria of the methods followed including linearity ( R2 values > 0.99) and recovery (70 -130%). Detection limits were established to be in the low parts per trillion (ng/L or ng/kg) range. While the samples were blindly spiked with only a subset of the PFAS compounds, the analysis method was assessed for a range of approximately 40 compounds. This indicates the scope of the method can easily be increased to a wider range of compounds, including legacy and emerging PFAS. Overall, this method has been demonstrated to be robust for the various water and soil matrices tested. By simplifying the sample preparation step, sample throughput can be drastically increased as well as reducing chances for sample contamination from inherent PFAS in typical laboratory supplies.